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Itemizer-Observer

FALLS CITY – In small towns like Falls City, the mayor is often called upon to represent the city in multiple capacities, whether that be acting as the MC at community events, an advocate regionally and statewide, a go-between for city staff and the city council, or as the facilitator of healthy discussion at council meetings.

One of the most important of the “unofficial” duties, according to Falls City’s new mayor T.J. Bailey is as community listener.

“As a representative of the citizens of Falls City, the mayor is the primary listener of citizen concerns and issues,” Bailey said. “The mayor brings these issues to goal setting meetings and other policy discussions to help ensure the voice of the people is heard.”

Bailey has served on the Falls City City Council since January 2020 when he was appointed to serve the remainder of a term of a councilor who was removed due to lack of meeting attendance. He won election to the seat in November.

Bailey said the city has seen a lot of progress under the leadership of the council and former mayor Jeremy Gordon, now a Polk County Commissioner.  Gordon will take the oath of office for his new post this week.

“I felt compelled to keep the forward momentum going. The decision to step in and fulfill his term was a difficult one because it can be a little daunting to take on such a public position. However, knowing that he will be a mentor to me and having council member Amy Houghtaling, a former mayor, serving as our council president, the decision became easier,” Bailey said. “I really look forward to serving the community in this role. We have made lots of progress in Falls City and I want to keep moving in the right direction.”

He said he will be representing the city as it continues progress on projects that will upgrade the city’s sewer system and create a more tourist friendly environment.

Bailey said the new wastewater treatment project, essential for growth in the city, is on track, but other issues are also at the forefront.

 “Funding for code enforcement, particularly to ensure public health and safety is a primary concern I’ve heard from citizens,” Bailey said. “Falls City is also working to become an inviting destination for area visitors. The community must be supported in its efforts to make Falls City an inviting location for visitors and small business development.”

Bailey said he’s looking forward to the taking on the challenges ahead.

 “I serve the community with a great team of council members and city staff,” he said. “I’m really excited to move toward our goals together.”

Another responsibility ahead for Bailey and the council is to fill the seat left vacant when he stepped into the mayor’s role.

Candidates wanting to serve on the council have until 5 p.m. on Aug. 6 to submit and application to City Hall at 299 Mill St. Falls City or email to info@fallscityoregon.gov.

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